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Roses Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 20/07/2019 - Netball - Vitality Netball World Cup Semi Final - England v New Zealand - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England - England's Serena Guthrie is clapped by fans after her side's loss to New Zealand in the semi-final.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 20/07/2019 - Netball - Vitality Netball World Cup Semi Final - England v New Zealand - M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England - England's Serena Guthrie is clapped by fans after her side's loss to New Zealand in the semi-final.

The penultimate day of the Vitality Netball World Cup saw some excellent clashes. Two electric semi-finals and two placing matches meant we saw plenty of Vitality Netball Superleague players in action.

Session 17:

11/12th placing match: Barbados 42-53 Scotland

Scotland finished their campaign on a high after beating Barbados 53-42 in their final placing match.

Emma Barrie – the second-youngest player in the entire competition at 17 years-old – has had, by her own admission, more time on court than she expected over the course of the tournament.

The Strathclyde Sirens shooter said: “We’ve not had the best competition in terms of where our targets were, but it’s good to get that win. It was a very physical, very tough experience [against Azore-Bruce], but you’ve just got to get on with it.”

Shonette Azore-Bruce is the latest in a long line of world-class goal keepers that Barrie has tussled with over the course of the competition, and experience which she believes has been invaluable.

“It’s been amazing – I don’t think you can get much more than that. I’ve played against people like Geva Mentor and Shamera Sterling, so that’s the best exposure I can get at this age.

Lynsey Gallagher, who shot at 96% in this game, credited the Vitality Netball Superleague: “Having the Vitality Netball Superleague has meant we’ve had the best platform to have competitive match play week in, week out.

“It gave us a chance to nail different combinations and test things out against some of the best netballers out there.”

Semi-Final 1: Australia 55-53 South Africa

Australia booked their place in the Vitality Netball World Cup final courtesy of a 55-53 win over South Africa.

Superleague stars Bongiwe Msomi (Wasps Netball), Shadine Van Der Merwe (Surrey Storm) and Maryka Holtzhausen (Severn Stars) were in action for South Africa with the latter playing 61 minutes and shooting at 88%.

In what was an absolutely pulsating game, South Africa made a mockery of their fifth-placed world ranking to run the holders and 11-time champions closer than many expected.

Australia started the game strongly and looked confident, winning the first two quarters and developing an eight-goal lead by half-time. However, it was South Africa that came out the better side after the break, winning the final two quarters and pushing the Diamonds to the wire.

Session 18:

Semi-Final 2: England 45-47 New Zealand

A fervent crowd inside the M&S Bank Arena watched as the Vitality Roses were denied a historic first Vitality Netball World Cup final by a robust New Zealand defence.

Team Bath’s Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usoro-Brown featured alongside Wasps Netball’s Jade Clarke in the starting seven as the hosts found themselves 5-0 down inside the opening minutes.

The second quarter threatened to be even more troubling for England when the Silver Ferns – inspired by the ruthless goal-attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio (96.2% shooting accuracy) – held a 20-14 advantage.

However, the introduction of Nat Haythornthwaite at wing attack contributed to a remarkable resurgence from the Vitality Roses as they powered their way to a 24-21 half-time lead.

Some disjointed play in the third period left England with three points to recover in the final knockings. The task proved too much despite a valiant effort and it will now be England against South Africa in the bronze medal match on Sunday, while the Kiwis battle old rivals Australia for gold.

Captain Guthrie said: “I am hurting. It’s difficult to put it into words but, as a leader, I have to stay strong and I will stay strong.

“World Cups come and go, games come and go, but the world will keep spinning and we can’t just sit back wondering about ‘what ifs’. We’ve still got a game to play. As long as we go out tomorrow and put in a good performance then I’ll be proud of the girls. I’m proud of them today.”

9th/10th placing match: Northern Ireland 48-57 Trinidad & Tobago

Following the drama of two remarkable semi-finals was the battle for ninth, which Trinidad & Tobago won with a polished performance to see off the threat of Northern Ireland.

Celtic Dragons’ Kalifa McColin’s impeccable shooting helped establish a 29-23 lead at half-time despite losing the opening quarter. Manchester Thunder’s Caroline O’Hanlon quickly nursed an injury that saw her hobble off early on and returned to inspire a fightback from the Northern Irish.

She was supported by Saracens Mavericks’ Michelle Drayne and London Pulse wing-defence Fionnuala Toner, who made three intercepts. However, the Calypso Girls pulled clear in the crucial moments to secure the victory.

McColin said: “Really awesome, I just went in there trying to stay focused for 60 minutes and I think I achieved that.

“I think for my team, we went away happy because we came 9th. I think for us it was all about improving our ranking, probably being fifth or sixth but we couldn’t do that so you know, we’ll go away with 9th very happily.”

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